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story.lead_photo.caption This Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, file photo, shows Electrolux's plant in Memphis, Tenn.

Ex-Sam's Club chief joins Amazon board

Former Sam's Club president and chief executive Rosalind Brewer, who led Walmart Inc.'c warehouse division from February 2012 to February 2017, has joined the board of directors of Walmart rival Amazon.com.

Amazon revealed Brewer's election to its board in documents filed Monday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The documents also show she has been appointed to the board's leadership development and compensation committee.

Brewer, chief operating officer at Starbucks Corp. since October 2017, was both the first woman and first black employee to lead a Walmart division. She served in many leadership positions in the Bentonville retailer's regional business units from 2006 until January 2012.

Before joining Walmart, Brewer worked at Kimberly-Clark Corp. for 22 years. She also has served as a director of Lockheed Martin Corp., and is currently a director at Starbucks. Last year, Forbes named her to its annual list of the most powerful women in business.

Brewer is Amazon's only black board member. The company adopted a shareholder proposal in May to help bring more diversity to the board.

-- Serenah McKay

Electrolux off hook to repay state $100M

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee officials say Swedish appliance maker Electrolux isn't legally required to repay $100 million in state incentives for its soon-to-be-shuttered Memphis factory.

That's because the state's 2010 agreement with Electrolux didn't include clawback provisions to recoup money if job thresholds aren't met. Accountability agreements with clawback requirements were added to state economic incentive agreements starting in 2013, economic development department spokesman Scott Harrison said.

Electrolux committed to create 1,240 jobs in Memphis and last reported 1,100-plus employees in 2017, Harrison said. The company currently employs about 530.

Last week, Electrolux announced plans to stop production in Memphis within two years, while investing $250 million to consolidate U.S. cooking manufacturing into its Springfield, Tenn., facility.

Electrolux's Memphis project received a $97 million grant paid in full and $2.6 million of a $3.1 million training grant, with the rest of that money to remain unpaid, Harrison said. Some of the money paid by the state helped with construction and infrastructure improvements, which could help attract a new tenant, Harrison added. The state grants are part of more than $150 million in incentives given to the company for the plant, which opened in 2014 and makes ovens.

-- The Associated Press

Hemp farming rejected in Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. -- Mississippi lawmakers are turning back an attempt to legalize growing industrial hemp in the state.

The House Drug Policy Committee, on a tie vote Monday, rejected an amendment that would have changed state law to allow farmers to grow hemp.

Changes to the state list of illegal drugs were proposed as House Bill 1547.

The U.S. Congress last year approved allowing production of non-intoxicating hemp in heavily regulated pilot programs.

Committee Chairman Patricia Willis, a Republican, opposes the change. She said Mississippi's law shouldn't change before federal changes take effect later this year.

Republican Rep. Dana Criswell, proposing the amendment, said Mississippi should move now or farmers will miss out.

-- The Associated Press

Artificial intelligence in spice-firm plans

McCormick & Co. Inc. plans to use artificial intelligence to create new flavors and products through a research collaboration with IBM, the spice maker said Monday.

The idea is to pair IBM's expertise in machine learning with McCormick's more than 40 years of sensory science and taste data, the companies said. McCormick's data includes not only past product formulas but millions of data points that relate to consumer taste preferences and palettes.

"One," the first product line developed through artificial intelligence, is scheduled to be on U.S. retail shelves by late spring and initially include a set of one-dish recipe mix flavors, such as Tuscan Chicken, Bourbon Pork Tenderloin and New Orleans Sausage. The "One" platform is designed as seasoning for both proteins and vegetables.

McCormick's product developers will use artificial intelligence to learn and predict new flavors, making the process faster and more efficient, the company said. The technology will be used in developing both consumer and commercial market products.

"McCormick's use of artificial intelligence highlights our commitment to insight-driven innovation and the application of the most forward-looking technologies to continually enhance our products and bring new flavors to market," said Lawrence Kurzius, McCormick's chairman, president and CEO, in an announcement Monday.

He said the project is among several in the pipeline using new and emerging technologies.

-- The Baltimore Sun

Boeing invests in speedy business jet

Boeing announced Tuesday that it's making a significant investment in a startup company developing an advanced supersonic business jet.

The deal with Reno, Nev.-based Aerion should accelerate technology development and design of Aerion's planned AS2 supersonic business jet, a sleek, needle-pointed design concept that resembles a small version of the Anglo-French supersonic Concorde.

Boeing said it will provide engineering, manufacturing and flight-test resources, as well as some parts of the aircraft, to help bring the AS2 to market.

The 12-passenger AS2 will be built mostly from carbon fiber composite and is designed to fly over ocean routes at speeds up to Mach 1.4, or about 1,000 mph. Over land, the AS2 is intended to cruise at Mach 0.95, to avoid sonic booms that would breach noise regulations.

Flying up to 70 percent faster than today's business jets, the AS2 could save about three hours on a trans-Atlantic flight. The aircraft is set for first flight in 2023.

Aerion believes that later versions of the aircraft will include technology to allow it to cruise supersonically at speeds approaching Mach 1.2 without a sonic boom.

Business on 02/06/2019

Print Headline: Business news in brief

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